As 2014 approaches, I find people asking me if I have a New Year’s resolution and I find myself reflecting on this past year.
2013 was the first year I set a major resolution for myself, and it was due to something I’ve been doing since 2010. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual challenge that dares participants to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. I’ve won every year since my sophomore year of high school. This year, I decided to push myself further, so I resolved to do two ‘EmNoWriMo’s—Ema’s Novel Writing Months—with 30,000 in March and 50,000 in July on top of my normal 50k in November. I won all three of the challenges, but I found that I had a lot more writer’s block than I had in the past. This November, I wrote the final 25k in four days, because I had earlier simply ran out of inspiration; maybe I forced myself to write too much.
People ask me if anything with quality comes out of NaNoWriMo. The answer’s generally no; when you’re rushing to pump out 1,666 words per day on top of schoolwork and other events (namely Model European Union and Maryland Student Legislature conferences I participated in this November) you’re not going to get much that’s really great. However, I know myself. I need motivation, and without, I get nothing done. NaNoWriMo forces me to get first drafts out into text.
This coming year, what I’d really like to do is go back to one of my stories, one that I finished writing in March, and edit it. Though I’ve ‘completed’ three novels and multiple segments, this one is the only one I look back on and don’t hate. I’m not really sure where I’m going with it, but if I want it to be presentable to other people, it has to go through some major editing. Maybe this year I’ll resolve to edit this story, but I can’t decide if I will or not yet—for some reason, this prospect is much more daunting than adding another two EmNoWriMos.
I’ve realized in retrospect that I’m really quite happy. A year ago, I was flipping out because my first choice school accepted me but gave me negligible financial aid. However, I can see that I’m excelling at McDaniel. I have the best GPA of my life (partially due to the insane high school I attended, but also to my own work), I’ve met amazing people, and I’m getting involved with activities I really care about. McDaniel’s definitely where I should be. I’m excited for what 2014 has to bring.